how we are hungry

eggars“There is no way or reason to be subtle about why Pilar was in Costa Rica. At thirty-one she was still unmarried and Hand was one of her few old friends also still unmarried, and the only attractive old friend she’d never slept with. So she knew, when she hung up the phone with Hand five weeks prior, that she would sleep with him in Alta, and she knew it on the plane and on the drive to the coast.
Was she in any way saddened by the predictability of the outcome? Was it unromantic? She decided that it was not. Sex and things like sex – things people pretend they regret – weren’t about a decision made in a heated moment. The decision is made when you leave the house, when you get on a plane, when you dial a number.”

“San Jose looked like L.A. circa 1973, and she puttered through the city weirdly horny. The heat maybe. The volume of the sidewalks maybe. She watched women through her windshield and they watched her. She found an English-language station and on it Michael Jackson’s “Rock With You” and she thought she would burst. She was happy, and she’d been for a few years able to recognize it, just dumb happiness, when it came, whatever its cause. When people asked how she was, she said Happy, and this made some people angry.”

city

city“Ani de tragedie domestica anulati cu o fraza de doi lei. Grotesc. Dar de zeci de ori e asa, e asa aproape mereu: descoperi la urma ca durerea, toata acea durere, era inutila, ca ati suferit ca niste animale, si era inutil, nu era nici drept, nici nedrept, nu era frumos sau urat, era doar inutil, tot ce poti spune la final e “A fost o durere inutila”. Sa-ti vina sa innebunesti, nu alta, cand te gandesti, mai bine nu te gandesti, tot ce poti face e sa nu te mai gandesti, niciodata, intelegi?”

“Trebuie sa incetez, se gandi.
Nu ajungi nicaieri asa.
Ar fi fost totul mai simplu daca nu ti-ar fi bagat in cap chestia asta cu ajunsul undeva, daca te-ar fi invatat, mai degraba, sa fii fericit stand nemiscat. Toate povestile alea despre drumul tau. Sa-ti gasesti drumul. Sa mergi pe drumul tau. Poate ca suntem facuti sa traim intr-o piata, sau intr-un parc, opriti pe loc, asteptand sa treaca viata, poate ca suntem o rascruce, lumea are nevoie sa ramanem pe loc, ar fi un dezastru daca am pleca, la un moment dat pe drumul nostru, ce drum? Altii sunt drumurile, eu sunt o piata, nu duc nicaieri, eu sunt un loc.”

“- […] cand esti tanar, durerea te loveste si e ca si cum s-ar trage in tine… e sfarsitul, ti se pare ca e sfarsitul… durerea e ca un foc de arma, te arunca in aer, e ca o explozie… ti se pare fara de leac, un lucru iremediabil, definitiv… chestia e ca nu te astepti la ea, asta e miezul problemei, ca atunci cand esti tanar nu te astepti la durere, si ea te surprinde, si mirarea e cea care te duce de nas, mirarea. Mirarea, intelegi?
– Da.
– Cand esti batran… adica atunci cand imbatranesti… nu mai exista mirarea asta, nu mai reuseste sa te ia prin surprindere… o simti, asta da, dar e numai oboseala care se adauga oboselii, nu mai explodeaza nimic, intelegi? E ca si cum cineva ti-ar pune niste kilograme in spate. E ca si cum ai merge si ai avea pantofii tot mai uzi de la noroi, si grei. La un moment dat te opresti, si acolo se termina. Dar nu sari in aer, ca atunci cand esti tanar, nu mai e ca atunci.”

metroland

metroland“Presupun ca acum sunt on mare. […] Adult, da, si aceasta este o mangaiere de ordin general. Sau cel putin trag concluzia ca asa ar trebui sa fie. In urma cu cativa ani eram ingrijorat de asta in chip obsedant. De ce nu am bagat de seama semaforul schimbat in verde, sau un anunt oarecare venit din boxe, un semn celest (nu prea public) care sa ma anunte ca am dat lovitura? Dar sentimentul acesta a inceput sa-mi treaca; si in buna masura pentru ca nu m-a luat nimeni la rost. N-a venit nimeni la mine sa-mi zica “Ai evitat lupta aceea, prin urmare nu esti barbat, du-te inapoi si ia-o de la capat, cu o garnitura absolut noua de principii si handicapuri”. Eu credeam ca asta mi se va intampla, si ca avea sa vina asupra mea pe furis; dar oamenii sunt cumsecade. Uneori banuiesc ca acest concept de maturitate este sustinut gratie unei conspiratii a amabilitatii.”

“Totul mi se parea, intr-un fel sau altul, relevant, totul imi lasa impresia ca ma implineste si-mi ascute sensibilitatea. Si, in definitiv, care este menirea vietii, daca nu asta?”

Julian Barnes – Metroland

big brother

Big Brother by Lionel Shriver“At least for me it had been a revelation to see Travis, since it’s always a revelation to see images of your parents younger than you are now. Suddenly all the surety and authority you’ve accorded them falls away, and these glimpses of outsize icons as ordinary lost people with no road map, no special access to the truth or justice or to anything, really – well, such epiphanies are tender and sweet and frightening all at the same time.”

“Confronting a photograph of oneself is always a fraught business, for one’s own image doesn’t merely evoke the trivial fretting of “I had no idea my nose was so big”. This sounds idiotic, but every time I encounter a picture of myself I am shocked to have been seen. I do not, under ordinary circumstances, feel seen. When I walk down the street, my experience is of looking. Manifest to myself in the ethereal privacy of my head, I grow alarmed when presented with evidence of my public body. This is quite a different matter from whatever dissatisfaction I may harbor over the heft of my ass. It is more a matter of having an ass, any ass, that other people can ogle, criticize or grasp, and being staggered that to others this formation, whatever its shape, has something to do with me. Every once in a while I can connect a droll set of my facial muscles with the real, in-head experience of finding something funny and keeping the source of this amusement to myself. But in the main, I fail utterly to recognize myself, the me of me, in my photographs. I do not identify with the cropped, once naturally blond head of hair with a tendency to frizz; when I have again neglected to color the roots for three solid months, the camera chastises, but I know that walking around with gray down the center part feels exactly the same as when the gray is covered. I’m not convinced that my elemental self even has hair. I do not identify with my short fingers; my relationship to my hands is to what they do, and digital stubbiness has never impaired their competent folding of buttermilk biscuit dough. I do not feel like someone with a neck lately on the thick side, with its implications of low sophistication and loutishness; I grew up in LA, for heaven’s sake. About all I truly recognize in my photos is my clothes – and I will greet the image of a quilted jacket from 1989 with the joy of meeting a long-lost friend. The fact that my clothing has been visually available to other people, I do not find upsetting. The body is another matter. It is mine; I have found it useful; but it is an avatar.

Given that most people presumably contend with just this rattling disconnect between who they are to themselves and what they are to others, it’s perplexing why we’re still roundly obsessed with appearance. Having verified on our own accounts the feeble link between the who and the what, you’d think that from the age of three we’d have learned to look straight through the avatar as we do through a pane of glass.”

Lionel Shriver – Big Brother

nu sunt nebun, frate

novecento“Mai bine sa nu te gandesti la astfel de lucruri, altminteri te apuca nebunia. Cand cade un tablou. Cand te trezesti intr-o dimineata si nu o mai iubesti. Cand deschizi ziarul si citesti ca a izbucnit razboiul. Cand vezi un tren si te gandesti “eu trebuie sa plec de aici“. Cand te privesti in oglinda si iti dai seama ca esti batran.”

“Nu sunt nebun, frate. Nu suntem nebuni cand gasim o modalitate de a ne salva. Suntem vicleni ca niste animale infometate. Nu-i nebunie asta. E geniu. Este geometrie. Perfectiune. Dorintele erau gata sa-mi sfasie inima. Puteam sa le traiesc, dar n-am reusit.
Atunci le-am vrajit.
Si le-am lasat una cate una in urma mea.”

Alessandro Baricco – Novecento

tu nu esti asa. tu esti poet.

“Nimic nu mai e posibil între mine
şi o fată de nouăşpe ani, cum nimic
nu era posibil când aveam nouăşpe
ani. Le as­cul­tam atent, îmi ciu­fu­leau părul,
îmi respin­geau atingerile, nu, Dan,
tu nu eşti aşa, tu eşti poet. Îşi fă­ceau
terapia pe mine, ve­neau cu lacrimi
la poet. Eram poet şi toţi se iubeau
în jurul poe­tu­lui şi ni­meni cu el.
Poetul ieşea în fiecare sea­ră
du­du­ind ca o undă tectonică şi
spre di­mi­nea­ţă se întorcea umilit
în adân­curi – cutremure detonate
degeaba, pe sub re­giuni nepopulate.”

– Dan Sociu

it chooses you

it-chooses-you “It’s the sound of the real world, gigantic and impossible, replacing the smaller version of reality that I wear like a bonnet, clutched tightly under my chin. It would require constant vigilance to not replace each person with my own fictional version of them.”
“Maybe I had miscalculated what was left of my life. Maybe it wasn’t loose change. Or, actually, the whole thing was loose change, from start to finish – many, many little moments, each holiday, each Valentine, each year unbearably repetitive and yet somehow always new. You could never buy anything with it, you could never cash it in for something more valuable or more whole. It was just all these days, held together only by the fragile memory of a person – or, if you were lucky, two. And because of this, this lack of inherent meaning or value, it was stunning. Like the most intricate, radical piece of art, the kind of art I was always trying to make. It dared to mean nothing and so demanded everything of you.”

Miranda July – It chooses you